Charleston is Travel + Leisure’s No. 1 U.S. City for 7 Straight Years

Charleston beat out Santa Fe and New Orleans to be named the No. 1 U.S. city by Travel + Leisure magazine for the seventh consecutive year. The publication’s “World’s Best” awards marked the Holy City as 12th – and the only city in America on that list – on its ranking of the world’s 15 best cities. Charleston’s 7.3 million visitors in 2018 were a 6% increase from the previous year, and the College of Charleston’s Office of Tourism Analysis said tourism accounted for a record $8.13 billion in economic impact last year. “In many ways, its success paves the way for further economic and corporate growth,” said Helen Hill, CEO of Explore Charleston, on the area’s record-breaking tourism numbers. The magazine’s rankings were culled from an online reader survey from November through March.

SC’s Construction Industry Saw 3,100 Construction Jobs Vanish Over Year

Despite unemployment figures that match lows over the past half century, South Carolina was among 10 states that lost jobs in the construction industry, based on a report from the Associated General Contractors of America that used the Department of Labor’s figures. The Palmetto State’s drop of 3,100 jobs year over year from May was around 3% of the state’s construction workforce and was the nation’s second-highest job loss. “The record number of job openings at the end of April implies contractors would add even more workers if they could,” the AGC’s chief economist said of national trends where contractors are challenged “to hire and retain qualified employees.”

All Aboard for Taxpayer Advocate Service’s ‘Subway Map’ of Administration Process

To help taxpayers and policymakers better understand the tax administration process, the Taxpayer Advocate Service has designed a subway map that serves as a high-level chart of a taxpayer’s “journey” through the tax system.  The map’s seven stages include tax return preparation, tax return processing, notices, examinations, appeals, collection and litigation. The subway map can be viewed online and will be available as a print map next month by calling 800.829.3676 starting Friday and requesting Publication 5341.

Elliott Davis’ Owen Named Among SC’s 2019 Women of Influence

Brittany Owen, a tax senior manager at Elliott Davis’ Columbia office and a SCACPA member since 2005, was among 25 honorees announced by the Columbia Regional Business Report as 2019 Women of Influence. The winners, who will be have a luncheon in their honor in August, were nominated by Business Report readers and selected by the Business Report’s panel of judges.

Midlands Tax Preparer Pleads Guilty to Filing False Returns, Face Up to 3 Years in Sentencing

An ex-IRS employee who mostly worked in a secretarial role there but cited her experience as a selling point for tax preparation in the Columbia area has pleaded guilty in federal court to filing false tax returns, court papers show. Cynthia Stukes came under investigation by the IRS based on the high number of business losses and education expenses filed under her Hopkins-baesd Blackwell Tax Business Service, and evidence shows these illegal refunds from 2011-2016 were $4,000 to $13,600 in scope. Most of the phony deductions were claimed on the Schedule C tax form for business deductions and expenses. Personally, she claimed deductions for dependents who did not live with her, according to prosecutors. A federal judge will sentence Stukes, who faces up to three years in prison.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

“The competition grows each year for these respected accolades and the associated downstream benefits they generate. We do not take for granted that most cities in the country would love to be in our position.”

Michael Tall, board chair of Explore Charleston and president of Charlestowne Hotels, on the Charleston area’s continued high marks on annual tourism surveys